Last year, Alpha News reported on a case brought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), which sought voter registration data in order to determine the number of illegal and ineligible votes that are occurring in Minnesota. Small samples of that data have revealed a high number of illegal votes being cast in the state.
For its case, MVA relied on Minnesota’s Data Practices Act, which is the state’s versions of the Freedom of Information Act. Yet Secretary of State Steve Simon, who is currently attempting to move the state’s entire election system to a system of mailed-in ballots—which leaves it incredibly open to fraud—fought MVA’s data request, arguing that MVA receiving the data and conducting their analysis would violate voter privacy.
Simon had produced a list of registered voters, but withheld information on voters’ eligibility-status.
While MVA won in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the MVA’s victory by a decision of 5 to 2 last week.
The Court’s majority, all appointed by Democratic governors, argued that Simon has the right to decide what is private and what is not. The Court’s two conservative justices argues that the majority’s decision gave Secretary of State Simon too much power to decide what information should and shouldn’t be released to the public.
“Decisions about the classification of government data and public access to voter registration data are policy matters for the Legislature,” wrote Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, who was joined by Justice G. Barry Anderson.
Andy Cilek, executive director of the MVA, responded to the decision as follows: “Unfortunately, it appears that Secretary Simon is determined to continue his obstruction of voting records needed to assess the full extent of ineligible voting in Minnesota and will not be releasing these public records any time soon.”